Wet - Dry petition to be turned in today;
LOUISA, Ky. -- Many residents of this small city located at the confluence of the Tug and Levisa forks of the Big Sandy river have used the bridge over both forks to travel to Ft. Gay, W.Va. for decades and one of the main destinations is a tiny "beer store' just across the river that may lead the state in beer sales since its competition burned down last year.
Hundreds of people from Lawrence County make their way across the bridge to buy beer since it is illegal to sell it in Louisa. And the tax dollars stay in W.Va., too.
But that could be changing soon if local businessman Gene Wilson is successful in his effort to allow Louisa citizens to vote on the issue. Wilson will turn in a petition to County Clerk Chris Jobe today (Monday, Sept. 22) asking for certification of the signatures and then to Judge/Executive John Osborne who will set the date for a vote on the issue in December.
Wilson says he has more than enough signatures on the petition (shown below).
The state requires 25% of the number of votes cast in the last General election for a petition to be certified.
The number was set at 210 by Jobe several months ago to have a vote, but county attorney Mike Hogan ruled that the petition was "too broad" and stopped the planned election.
"We have 284 eligible signers and 454 total this time," Wilson said Monday morning as he prepared to take the petition to Jobe's office. "The reason we have so many is that a lot of people in the Spring Hill, High Bottom and Point Section vote in a Louisa precinct and thought they could sign, but they have to live in the city limits and be eligible to vote in city races, so theirs don't count."
Wilson began pursuing the vote last year as customers at his Best Western Motel repeatedly asked where they could get dinner and a drink during their stay and he had to steer them to Ft. Gay which has no modern restaurant. He said he has a promise from the owners of Applebees franchises in the area to put in one of their restaurants if the city or county was wet.
Wilson said he will ask Osborne to set an election for either December 9 or the following week on Dec. 16 because of the new laws passed during the legislative session this year. State Rep. Jill York turned Wilson's request that Louisa be a 4th class city into the proper Legislative committee because, the request said, U.S. Census figures showed there were more than 3,000 people here which is what the minimum population is and Louisa became a 4th class city from a 5th.
5th class cities cannot petition for wet-dry status.
Later this summer the state decided to divide the state into only two classes, 1st and 2nd with most cities eligible to vote on the issue not.
Louisa City Council members signed the first petition during a regular meeting. City leaders say the city needs the revenue in order to grow and to improve infrastructure.
Here is a copy of the new petition and a letter from Mr. Wilson to Judge/Executive John Osborne.
Pursuant to KRS 242.020 and 242.030, please find enclosed the signatures of 453 individual Voters seeking a local option election to determine whether alcoholic beverages may be sold within the city limits. Of this number, 284 actually live within the city limits of Louisa since some voters in East Louisa live on the Point Section outside the city limits.
In compliance with the law, the petitions were circulated within six (6) months of this filing and represent more than 25% of the votes cast (city only) in the last preceding general election. The law requires this Petition to be filed with the County Clerk stating “We the undersigned registered voters hereby petition for an election on the following question: ‘Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Louisa?”
The original signatures, the voter’s addresses, date of birth, and the date upon which the voter’s name was signed, is attached herewith for verification marked “Exhibit A”.
Gene A. Wilson
Chairman, Wet/Dry Vote
GENE A. WILSON
P.O. Box 702
Louisa, KY 41230
September 22, 2014
Re: Petition for Wet/Dry Vote
Hon. John Osborne, County Judge/Executive
122 South Main Cross Street
Louisa, Kentucky 41230
Dear Judge Osborne:
Please be advised on this date petitions were filed with the County Court Clerk, Chris Jobe, for verification that the requisite number of voters are petitioning to have an election to determine if a majority of voters are in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Louisa.
For this to occur on March 31, 2014 the State Legislature changed the Law making the City of Louisa a fourth class, and was signed by Governor, Steve Beshear on April 10, 2014. See Attached Exhibit A.
Steve Humphress, Esq., General Counsel Kentucky Development of Alcoholic Beverage Control advised the petitioners the law went into effect on July 15, 2014 and petitions could now be circulated. See attached Exhibit B.
On May 9, 2014, the undersigned asked advice from the General Counsel for the Kentucky Development of Alcoholic Beverage Control that if the Petition is filed on September 22, 2014, there can be an election held on December 9th or December 16, 2014 if the County Judge so orders. See attached Exhibit C.
We should now give it to the people of Louisa to determine their wishes.
On Tuesday there was another special meeting. It was called to order by Mayor Teddy Preston.
The First reading of Ordinance 2014-04, “An Ordinance Relating to the Valuation and Taxation of Property within the City of Louisa”. The ordinance explains that there would be no increase and that it would be set the same as last year. Gloria Johnson made a motion to accept it and Brad Stark second it. All were in favor.
The Water and Sewer Budget for 2014-2015 was next on the agenda.
There were three representatives from Big Sandy Water, Inc. present.
BSW, Inc. manager Jimmy BlantonThe manager Jimmy Blanton and Board of Commissioners members Bill Harden and Charles Shocky.
Council member Brad Stark reminded everyone that BSW was there because the Council is wanting to raise what BSW pays by $0.15 per 1,000 gallons and want to know what their position is on the raise.
A study that was done showed that Louisa pays $4.08 per 1000 gallons to produce the water and that BSW is currently paying $2.68 per 1000 gallons.
"So you are not even paying what it costs us to produce the water according to the study that we had done," Stark said.
Blanton stated that he believed that Lawrence co. board members of Big Sandy Water, inc. Bill Harden and Charles Shocky. Both say BSW can buy the water cheaper elsewhere and told council members they didn't think the company should buy the water from Louisa. they were only two cents under by the study.
The discussion continued and both the council and the BSW members were standing firm on what they thought.
Blanton explained, "If we are going to agree on a raise then the majority of the members would have to agree to it." They agreed to a two cent raise because that is what the Kentucky Rural Water recommended."
Stark explained that he understood KRW to say that BSW buys around 33% of the potable water or the water that is actually sold and BSW should be accountable for the water loss that is needed to produce the water.
City Attorney Eldred "Bud" Adams explained that if you take the cost of chemicals, labor, water loss, and operations then the City's cost is $4.08 to produce the water. So if you add the $.15 it would still be below the cost the City is paying to produce the water.
Stark explained that according to the study that was provided a $.15 raise is more than fair.One of the commissioners stated that they could go buy water from other places like Paintsville.
Council member Gloria Johnson, right, looks over water budget items during special meeting. azer photo by Elizabeth MooreStark told them that was fine but if the BSW "does Paintsville the same way then they will eventually go bankrupt, too."
He went on to say that BSW wasn't even paying cost and that they were paying two cents under cost to the City for the water they are getting.
Blanton explained that he would call a special meeting to discuss this and would get back with the Council.
The gentlemen from BSW were excused and the Council continued to to discuss the Water and Sewer budget.
Council members discussed the amount of overtime that is received by plant operators and explained that there needs to be something done about it.
Waterworks director Dave Mcguire explained that he is already working on lowering that.
A motion to approve the budget with the changes made to the water budget by Stark and Gloria Johnson second it will all in favor.
It was getting late and the Sewer budget was not discussed.
A motion to ajorn was made by Stark and second Johnson with all in favor
Preston accepts burglary plea...
By Catrina Vargo
ShannonLouisa, KY -- Circuit Court Judge, Hon. John David Preston, handed down a sentence totaling 35 years for Harold Keith Shannon, 67, of Louisa, KY who was arrested June 13, 2014 and charged with multiple sex offenses involving a minor.
The charges against Shannon were 1st Degree Sodomy, Victim Under 12 years of Age, which was amended to 2nd Degree, Use of a Minor Under 16 in a Sex Performance, Promoting Sex Performance By Minor Under 16, Possession of Matter Portraying Sex Performance By Minor, and Unlawful Transaction With Minor
1st Degree Sex Act, which was amended to 2nd Degree.
Preston recommended a sentence of 35 years for said offenses.
Final sentencing for Shannon who pled guilty to charges, will be Oct. 10, at 10:00 am.
Accused Arsonist, Mary J. Howard, 64, of Paintsville, KY who was arrested April 24 2014 and charged with Arson 1st Degree, was scheduled for trial on February 2, 2015, and is due to report for court on January 9.
MusicRobert C. Music, 46, of Louisa, KY, who was arrested June 10, 2014, and charged with multiple offenses in two separate cases, was scheduled for trial on February 11, 2015 and is to report for court on January 9.
In the first case, Music is charged with Burglary 3rd Degree and Persistent Felony Offender. In a second case, Music is charged with Theft By Unlawful Taking (Shoplifting), Assault 3rd Degree, Fleeing/Evading Police 1st Degree, Wanton Endangerment, 1st Degree, 1st Degree Possession of Cocaine, Drug Paraphernalia (Buy/Possession), Operating Motor Vehicle Under the Influence, Operating on Suspended/Revoked License, Failure to Maintain Required Insurance, Improper Registration, No/Expired Registration Plates, Failure to Register or Transfer Motor Vehicle, and Persistent Felony Offender.
other circuit court news...
BetznerCookSherry CookChristina Betzner, 44, changed plea to guilty on charge of Complicity Receiving Stolen Property (under $10,000) and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years, supervised probation, 5 years and other conditions and 45 days jail credit. Final sentencing Oct. 10.
Kenneth Cook, 25, was sentenced to 3 years with 69 days jail credit on charge of Theft By Unlawful Taking.
Sherry Cook, 43, pled guilty to charges of Complicity 1st Degree Possession of Cocaine, and was sentenced to 3 years supervised probation, diversion three years, 120 days home incarceration and other conditions. Final sentencing Oct. 10.
On the charge of Complicity Drug Paraphernalia, Buy/Possession, Cook was sentenced to time served.
SalyersCunninghamSpearsKayla M. Salyer, pled guilty to charge of Complicity Receiving Stolen Property (under $10,000) for which she was sentenced 2 1/2 years supervised probation, 5 years and other conditions, including 90 days home incarceration. On charge of
Complicity Receiving Stolen Property (under $500), Defendant was sentenced to 12 months and other conditions.
Christopher L. Cunningham, 32, pled not guilty on charges of Complicity Theft By Unlawful Taking (shoplifting) and Persistent Felony Offender. Defendant was arraigned and a pre-trial conference set for October 10.
Frank Spears, 30, was denied a Motion to Amend Bond on two counts of Sexual Abuse 1st Degree.
Other court cases were rescheduled for a later date.
Information provided by Lawrence County Circuit Court Clerk's Office
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